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CLICK HERE for the Waco team photo album.

CLICK HERE for the Denton team photo album.

Waco Team Members: Mark Wible (leader), Laurie Wible, Trent Collier, Sarah Ellingson, Abi Lindsey, Vo Nguyen, Mike Remus, Luke Wible, and Noah Wible.

Denton Team Members: Michael Eddy (leader), Melody Battles, Sarah Pitman, Jared Tice, Trent Tice, Kenzi Valadez, and Tanner Wilson.

Waco Team Updates

Sunday, July 15 Mark reports for the Waco Team: After an extremely frustrating series of unexpected flight cancellations and delays, we are all finally safe and sound together in Budapest!

Monday, July 16 Mark reports for the Waco Team: This morning after a we had a typical European breakfast of cold cuts, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, yogurt and poached eggs, we headed off to the first camp site. It was 8:30A, time to start… and only 1 kid was there! The school had published that camp started at 9, not 8:30. So around 9:00, 38 campers showed up, 18 of which were girls! The kids were eager to learn. After lunch of tomato soup, rice and breaded chicken, we took off for the second camp site, about 30 minutes away.

We had a similar situation in the afternoon. There were 27 kids in the afternoon camp, which was a surprise that we even had that many when we learned that the school had advertised the camp starting at 4:00P, when it was actually finished at 4:00P! The correct start time was 1:30P. We are hoping for more kids tomorrow, once they realize they need to be there a lot earlier!

Mike and Trent had the older boys, and Sarah the older girls. Abi and Luke had the younger girls, and Noah and Vo the younger boys. This is the first Hoops for Hope trip for Abi, Luke and Vo, and they did a great job.

The gym was small, so small that we had to do passing and agility in the hallway! It was nice outside, but we felt the heat inside with no ventilation.

We finished the day with dinner at the restaurant; chicken and Hungarian cole slaw. Of course we had to search out a local ice cream shop to top it off.

Tuesday, July 17 Mark reports for the Waco Team:

We had the same 20 boys and 18 girls in the first camp, so no change there. What did change was they all showed up on time. They were excited to be there and worked hard as we went through the mass ball handling and drills, in spite of the heat. We needed several water breaks!

The kids love the what’s-wrong pics, a great partner with the talking points for the day.

The coaches have a great attitude and keep the energy level high. The young translators are working hard and learning.

The afternoon camp gained 4 girls and 1 boy from yesterday, and they were all there on time as well! They told the coaches they are so tired but wouldn’t even think of missing camp. A couple of parents stayed to watch.

The girls are by far the best athletes in both camps. It’s fun to watch them out do the boys.

After dinner of pork chops topped with cheese and mushrooms, and potatoes at a local restaurant, we made our run to the ice cream shop. Treat for sure.

We enjoyed the cooler European evening outside in the courtyard as we debriefed about the day. It was maybe in the low to mid 70’s and the church bells were ringing on the hour. Quaint.

The team is encouraging to each other and the kids. They’re doing so well. Noah and Vo’s personal luggage is still missing, and one suitcase of basketballs & equipment. We’re hoping they show up soon.

This was the first day that things felt normal after the harrowing trip to get here.

Wednesday, July 18 Mark reports for the Waco Team: All the luggage finally came in. Noah and Vo are excited.

Trent Collier led morning camp and did a great job. Sarah ran the afternoon. We have a really strong girls group in that camp and it was great to let them see Sarah lead. She did great.

A local tv station showed up and did an interview and story about HFH. It will be on tomorrow or this weekend.

The kids had lots of fun today and really enjoyed the switched up games and competitions. They got into the relays and shooting competitions.

Thursday, July 19 Mark reports for the Waco Team: The day started with Luke challenging the team after a traditional European breakfast, then they headed to the court. Since the kids learned that camps start at 8:30A and not 9:00A, they have been there early and ready to go each day. They are intent on learning the skills of basketball and enjoying every minute.

Noah ran mass ball handling and Mike the defensive slide drills. They both did a great job.

Yesterday film crews in both cities showed up to get the story on the camps. They were too late for the afternoon camp and returned earlier today. The kids were so excited at the thought of being on TV!

Friday, July 20 Mark shares about their last day of camp: Starting off with a story from Thursday… last night while the team was at the ice cream shop, three local men came up to them and asked them who they are. They had not heard the English language in their town in a while. They knew they weren’t tourist, and since they were all dressed alike, they could tell they were a team of some sort. What’s going on? Mark shared what they had been doing all week and about the mission of Hoops for Hope. The men enjoyed talking with Mark and learning about their time there. That was a fun encounter.

Before the team left for the first camp of the day, they packed everything and said their good-byes to the workers.

Trent led the morning camp, and Vo led mass ball handling. After short contests, Mark talked with them their power to be overcomers and challenged them to dig deeper into their faith.

The awards ceremony is one of the best parts of camp. There was lots of cheering and excitement. Each kid who won first and second place (based on contest scores), knew what was coming for them. But to see the expressions on the faces of those winning the Coach’s Award was priceless.

After a wonderful meal of rhubarb soup (a sweet soup) at the school cafeteria, the team presented 1 cleaning lady and 5 cafeteria ladies with a basketball. They were tickled. As the team left the gym headed to the van, they saw the 6 ladies in a line at the van with their balls in hand waiting for autographs as the coaches came by. Touching.

They gave a ball to the owner of the hotel where they’d stayed all week. He was grateful for the team coming to invest in the kids of their city.

Many parents stayed and watched the afternoon camp. Noah led this one and did a great job adjusting on the fly. Again, Vo did a good job leading mass ball handling. During the awards ceremony, the kids were so excited that they slapped out drum rolls on the gym floor so loud the award winner’s name could hardly be heard!

The principal showed his thanks by presenting the team with candy and gifts, and Mark presented him and others with t-shirts and sackpacks. The girl’s team gave the coaches a picture they had taken of their team, signed and framed. It’s always hard to say good-bye to these kids you’ve cared so much about over the course of the week.

Denton Team Updates

Monday, July 16 Michael reports for the Denton Team:

After a wonderful breakfast to start the day; sausage and eggs, bread with jam, different cereals, juices, tea, and coffee we were ready to get our camps started!

We had 34 at our morning camp, and 32 at our afternoon camp. The kids were excited about being at camp and wanted to learn and improve. Their basketball skills were already getting better today!

Tuesday, July 17 Michael reports for the Denton Team: Our team is doing well and is encouraged that the kids are working hard during the camps.

We were treated at both camps today; Linzer cookies at the first and croissant bread with powdered sugar and raisin filling in the second. Great lunch of chicken soup and cornflake chicken and slaw with dessert. Tonight we had cordon blue and rice.

The people are very grateful we are here in this poor section of Hungary making a difference.

Wednesday, July 17 Michael reports for the Denton Team: The kids continued to work hard and improve their basketball skills in both the morning and afternoon camps. Each camper was encouraged as they choose a career, doing that job and using the gifts you have been given to do your best and plant seeds of change.

We were given chocolate cake with coconut flakes and a bread roll with strawberry jelly today as our snacks. Great meals were enjoyed by all.

Thursday, July 18 Michael reports for the Denton Team: The principal from the local high school and the staff that has helped us this week at our first camp took us out tonight to see this church built in 1767. We then went to a local house and had a four course meal of traditional regional Hungarian food. It was delicious.

Friday, July 19 Michael closes with this report from the Denton team: Our camps ended well today. Both camps gave us very nice thank-you gifts for coming. Many kids wanted autographs and asked us to come back. We also handed out thank-you gifts to the many volunteers helping us this week.

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CLICK HERE for the photo album.

Team Members L-R Front: Mark Wible, Taylor Creamer, Madison Daniels, Jamie Amos

Back: Cody Beeler, Trent Collier and Mike Remus

Saturday, July 22

The team got a day pass for the subway and had a great time touring Budapest. This included a duck tour around the city, then a splash into the aqua duct to see Budapest from the river. They toured the House of Terror Museum which commemorates the victims of both the Communist and the Nazi regimes. The building served as the former headquarter of the Nazi party in 1940 and its basement was used as a prison. During Communism, the building was taken over by the Hungarian KGB and many were tortured.

They visited the Shoes on the Danube, a sobering sight, in memory of the Jews that were shot into the river by militiamen. There are 60 pair of rusted period shoes cast out of iron, representing every age and class of people, as no one was spared the holocaust atrocities.

They ate at a Turkish restaurant for lunch, and the afternoon sun came out. Next on the stop was the Saint Matthew’s Cathedral which overlooks Budapest. It is a beautiful city.

Some team members went back to the hotel and others continued to take advantage of their day pass and tour the city.

They will leave for the airport at 6:00A and arrive back in Waco late Sunday. Please pray for safety in travel.

Friday, July 21

The last day of camps is always bittersweet; so much to celebrate and so difficult to leave the new friends and family. Thank you for your faithfulness to remember us.

Cody ran the morning camp and did a great job keeping things moving. Even though portions of the camp were shortened because of the award presentation, the coaches had time to teach the kids Knock Out and they loved it, especially the


The award presentations are always fun. Everyone is so excited to receive their ball and certificate, and they rush around getting autographs from all the coaches, and in the afternoon camp of younger kids, they got autographs of the translators as well.

One great thing about a 5 day camp is that it really gives the kids a chance to warm up. There has been such a change over the course of the week.

Pizza was on the menu for dinner, and the pizza guy gave them 14 pizzas for 13 people! They asked for to-go boxes for the 7 they had left and wondered what they could do with the leftover pizzas. They walked to a park (accompanied by the translators) and gave some to 3 women with their children playing there, gave 1 to the gelato owner, and another to a girl at the gelato counter placing an order. It was fun. By the way, the owner of the gelato place knows the team well, and starts making Mike’s order before he even places it.

The team traveled to Budapest after camps ended. Tomorrow, they’ll tour the Aqua Duct Danube and walk the city before heading to the airport to start their trek back home.

Thursday, July 20

It was another beautiful morning in the small town. The weather is incredible.

Both camps were wonderful today. The kids know the routine now and are proficient in what to do. Cody ran the stretching, cross court, and relays in the morning, and Taylor in the afternoon, both doing a great job. Mark picked it up from there and ran the stations and contests. It’s fun to see the kids come to an understanding of the contests, and now that they’re coming into the final stages of it, they’re working really hard. They want to win!

The team toured a church built in the 1700s after camps were over. They climbed the bell tower and enjoyed the view. They walked the streets, stopping for Gelato. It was amusing to see Dr. Pepper in this little city in Hungary.

The team is packing up everything tonight since they will have to check out of the hotel tomorrow morning before camp.

Wedneday, July 19

The work ethic of Michael Jordan was the focus of today’s challenge from Trent. He shared that this basketball star wouldn’t let anyone outwork him and put in extra time on the court to perfect his game, making him the greatest basketball player of all time. This commitment to excellence inspired Trent and made him question his commitment to be a better person. Trent left that thought with the team.

Camps began today with a few minutes of stretching, gearing up for more fun games and activities than in the typical camp structure, and the kids really liked it. Taylor and Cody co-led the stretching as well as mass ball handling, cross court drills and relays.

The kids are opening up more each day in the break-out sessions, asking great questions and joining in the discussions. They are responding well to the coach’s leading.

The coaches were surprised at lunch with a visit from Regina White, a friend in Kocise, Slovakia. They showed her around town and invited her to join them for the afternoon camp. She jumped right in and help out with translating and encouraging the kids.

At the end of the second camp, the principal made presentations to the coaches. (She is leaving tomorrow for the week.) She shared that when Sandor asked if they wanted a basketball camp, she had no idea what to expect. When she saw how hard our coaches worked the kids on the first day, she worried all night about the excuses she’d have to make when the students didn’t return the next day. To her surprise, not only did the kids return, but more came! She called the team “a miracle,” because she could have never expected this. She can only give thanks to the One who made this possible. She also shared that not only are the kids being encouraged, but the teachers and parents who are participating or watching in the stands are encouraged as well. Neither their kids nor their town has ever had anything like this. What a blessing!

A translator’s parents came to pick up their son today for his dad’s 40th birthday celebration tomorrow in Budapest. They have never seen anything like this either, so orchestrated and focused. The son was so disappointed that he had to leave but we certainly understood.

The team traveled to a house out in the country for dinner. They sat at picnic tables in an open area under a thatched roof. Everything was cooked in a wood stove about 10 feet long. The appetizer was bread with onions, garlic and cottage cheese; the second course was cabbage wrapped rice and ham, and the main course was pork chops with a very thin hash brown and cole slaw. Sweet bread finished off the incredible meal. The team has never eaten so well. There were embroidered saying all around and the atmosphere was really fun. Needless to say, some still had room for ice cream after they returned to the hotel!

Tuesday, July 18

It was another fantastic day of camps in Vasarosnameny, Hungary!

The team enjoyed a great breakfast again to start the day. The hotel provides everything you could want: eggs, sausage, cold cuts, breads, fruit, yogurt, and the list goes on.

The kids were really excited to get started today. They are very obedient, well behaved, and a pleasure to work with.

When 4 new kids showed up at Camp 1, Mark handed Taylor the whistle and ran to air up balls for them. The camp also had 4 teachers (1 PE and 3 academic) who went all the way through the camp as a camper. They were in their late 30’s or early 40’s, and it was fun to have them participate.

During the break-out sessions, the what’s-wrong pics (obvious design flaws) were handed out, and walls came down. The kids opened up and talked. Coaches did a good job of keeping them engaged.

After Camp 1 was over, one player on Cody’s team asked if he could talk. He shared that he had gone through some difficult things lately. He had lost links to other people and came to the camp out of boredom, just to try something different. He was happy to share that this is filling a need in his life for friendship and mentorship. What a neat story!

The team ate lunch at the school’s restaurant. Mark sat next to the head master and asked (through a translator) how she saw the kids responding to camp. Her answer was that they are really (said 10 times!) excited about this. The kids have moved more in 3 hours than in 30 days!

One retired teacher mentioned in the report yesterday, shared that there’s just something different about “you people.” The coaches are so genuine, so real and really love these kids. She watched as the team prepared for camps and was so amazed at their professionalism.

The afternoon session with younger kids went very well. There are 3 girls’ teams and 3 boys’ teams. The girls have caught on to encouraging each other and that’s really neat to see. Teachers come and watch as well.

Several kids were singled out and recognized in the afternoon camp for positive attitudes or good things they’ve done and they just beam. One translator is a quiet girl, but she leaned over to a player and said something encouraging in Hungarian to her, and the player just smiled. It’s really contagious!

Sandor is an 18 year old (on the video) and loves learning basketball. You can see that he’s working like crazy to do his very best to show the coaches.

Mark shared during team time that part of what we do is to teach character traits, and one would be the act of service. He pointed to the water bottles that were stacked neatly. Three teams had been asked to do that and because of their attitude of service, they did it without complaining. Mark also shared about having an attitude of gratitude. Ladies from the school had provided a sweet filled bread and water after camp, and the kids were instructed to say thank you when they went through the line.

Even though the team is dog tired, they thoroughly enjoyed the unique Hungarian dish of veal and homemade noodles for dinner. The food has been incredible.

The owner of the hotel where they are staying, Hunor (hunter) Lodge, is a big game hunter. He gave the team a special behind-the-scenes tour of his collection of over 100 big game animals of every kind. He’s quite the avid hunter/collector.

Monday, July 17

Cody started the day with a challenge to the team to get outside their comfort zone, outside their box. As the team would meet campers for the first time today, Cody reminded them to encourage the kids to grow wherever they are.

Mark reports from today’s camps that there were 40 kids in the morning camp, and 39 kids in the afternoon one.

Thankfully, the missing luggage arrived 10 minutes before the afternoon camp began, just when it was needed. Perfect timing!

When the team arrived at the first gym, the kids were excited and waiting. The head master and PE teachers were excited to meet the team too. They were so excited that the PE teachers went through the camp like campers, and 2 teachers who were watching from the bleachers joined teams to help translate so they could be a part of the camp and practice their English. They helped as well to facilitate the water breaks.

As balls were given out first thing in the morning camp of high school aged youth, very few would shoot. They would pass the ball or dribble, but not shoot. This was a learning experience for them, but they worked really hard and picked up quickly on the drills. They were intent to learn and it showed. They got 3-2-1 and mass ball handling on the first day, which says a lot.

The afternoon camp of 12-14 year olds (half boys, half girls) was held at a smaller gym with only 2 goals, so Mike was creative in finding a way to teach rebounding. Trent is really good at instructing and connecting with his teams. Madison and Taylor had the 2 girls’ teams in the morning camp and 2 of the 3 girls’ teams in the afternoon. They connect well with the girls. Cody took the third team of girls in the afternoon and did a great job with them. Jamie is so patient with his kids.

The impact of our coaches’ encouragement was evident to everyone around. The question of the day was, “What’s going on with these guys, and why are they so encouraging?”

The food is incredible. The school provides treats and they were awesome. Meals at the hotel were awesome too. They’re eating well.

The weather has been unbelievable. They need a light jacket in the mornings and evenings, and the high is in the upper 70’s. Nice.

Our host, along with his wife and 2 boys were at camp today. One son is going through the camp.

Sunday, July 16

After a great breakfast, Taylor had a word for us. She talked about the necessity of expressing our heart of gratitude at all times.

We took the metro to lunch at the same restaurant we had dinner at last night. We packed up from the hotel, met our translators and headed north east to our host city. We went to the court where we will hold our first camp, blew up all the basketballs and got everything staged for tomorrow's camps.

We are hoping the missing bag will get here tomorrow. We have 100 kids signed up and are short 20 balls, a set of wristbands and medals.

We had a great dinner and a time of getting to know our translators. Then it was off to bed, trying to get over jet leg.

We are excited about the camps beginning tomorrow.

Saturday, July 15

We are happy to share that the Hungary team has made it safely to Budapest. The flights were uneventful. In fact, the first flight, 12 hours to Istanbul, was really good since the guys had bulkhead seats, so nothing was in front of them giving them plenty of room to stretch out. Mark sat on the floor on his row and laid his head in a seat and slept for several hours. When they landed, they had just enough time to stretch their legs before boarding the plane for their last 2 hour flight into Budapest.

They are missing one piece of luggage with balls and equipment in it, and hopefully it will arrive before Monday.

The team was met at the airport by a colleague of our hosts and took them to a restaurant for dinner. It's similar to our Golden Corral with great food and incredible variety. They really enjoyed it. The president of our host agency joined them for dinner. They were headed to the hotel afterwards for a good night's rest.

Mark shared that it was great weather, maybe 72 degrees, and the sun was setting on the clouds. A beautiful evening.

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